Andrea at Pelican Hill Resort

Lunch at Andrea, the flagship restaurant at Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach, CA is like a 2 hour vacation.  The Tuscan design is elegant and understated, with cushioned wicker furniture on the patio.  The patio.  The view from high atop a hill overlooks fountains, courtyard, golf course and ocean.  The view itself is lunch!  At my most recent visit we debated cocktails vs. wine, and ultimately ordered an Olivier Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru Champ Gain , 2008.  Wine Spectator gave this 91 points, and so would I.  It was very balanced, with subtle minerality, pear, perhaps some stone fruit, a little floral and (according to one review) nuts and toast!  It went very well with the lighter dishes we ordered.

Even the bread basket is worth a mention.  Freshly baked rolls are served with a swirled blend of white bean and pine nut puree and olive tapenade, with a great olive oil drizzle.  Heavenly!

Our first courses were Warm Steelhead Trout with Herbed Mayo and Roots Salad, plus Flat Bread with Burrata, San Daniele Prosciutto and Arugula.

Both of these were delicious.  The trout had a full, wild fish taste and the sauce and garnish were a perfect complement.  What can one say about this San Daniele prosciutto?  It is like butter with a pork flavor.  It is so rich, and the serving is so big, that half of this got boxed up for another sensory experience later.

Our second course was two of the freshly house-made pastas, Smoked Ricotta Cannelloni, with Tomato Sauce and Basil, plus Buffalo Mozzarella Gnocchi with Mushroom Ragout and Parsley.

Both of these were wonderful.  The smokiness of the ricotta and the perfectly cooked pasta with a light but perfectly balanced sauce.  The gnocchi were pillowy but packed with flavor.  I don’t know how they achieve lightness and depth of flavor at the same time, but they do.

There was wine to be finished, so we ordered dessert.  The server told us they have a brand new gelato machine, and so we ordered pistachio, chocolate (on one plate) and strawberry and blood orange (other plate).  They will give you up to three flavors, but we went with 2 of our favorites on each plate.  The gelato and sorbets taste very fresh, really bringing out the flavor of each key ingredient, yet they are light and refreshing.

The patio was sparsely occupied, which is odd, because their prices are not outrageous, especially for a million dollar view.  The service was so good it was almost too attentive, but they all did a good job.

I treated myself to a spa visit after lunch.  I know that spas don’t advise this, but there is nothing like a massage after 2 glasses of French wine.  The spa is very elegant, with a separate water colonade (steam, sauna, whirlpool) for each gender, and a relaxing lounge with waterfall, flavored water, teas, magazines, and very comfy furniture.

A wonderful way to play hooky on a Friday afternoon, or as my massage therapist put it: “Award yourself a mental health bonus.”


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